Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, my 2004 TJ has developed the death wobble. I checked all applicable steering/suspension components and can feel a slight "thunk" in the drag link/tie rod/pitman arm when the steering wheel is turned back and forth. I am guessing it is the drag link ends ... but ....

1. Without dissembling everything, is there a way to determine the exact component that is worn?
2. What is most likely the cause given the details above?
3. Should I just replace everything in the drag link/tie rod/pitman arm set up or just do a bit at a time until (hopefully) the problem is resolved?
4. Replace the whole drag link or just the ends ... any recommendations for supplier?

Thanks
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
50,155 Posts
Don't guess when there's an easy way to tell what is clunking. With the tires on the ground, have a helper turn the steering wheel back & forth while you watch the steering system for unwanted side-to-side movement at the joints where things are attached or bolted together.

It is normal for the tie rod and drag link to have rotational play since they are mounted on ball joints... but there should be no side-to-side slop/movement anywhere. Especially (!) at the passenger-side mount for the track bar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sorry guys, my bad, I didn't make it clear ... I did the dry steer test, thats when I detected the "clunk" .... but though I looked hard I couldn't see any movement.

So, I'm not sure how much of the "clunk" is normal and if there is a way of homing in on exactly the part that needs replacing - or if I should just replace everything in that area and hope that I get it right.

I can tell you the wobble is very real ...lol.....
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
50,155 Posts
DW is normally always (!) triggered by a tire that is not perfectly balanced. Even when they were just balanced, which typically is not good enough for the type of front-end used on a TJ and most trucks. I've had to return to the tire shops 3x in one day before they finally got the message to take their time on getting the tires balanced perfectly which cured the problem.

Once triggered by something like an out of balance tire or dip in the road, something else is usually loose enough to allow that triggering event to turn into full-blown death wobble. Like the track bar being loose.

You really need to figure out what is causing the clunk... in other words, more time under the Jeep while your helper turns the steering back & forth more. :)
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
50,155 Posts
Is it actual death wobble? I've never experienced it, but I understand it scares the crap out of you when it happens.
You're right, true fully developed Death Wobble is absolutely violent beyond what can be imagined until experienced. It's so violent that most drivers will notice it and steer away from you. At its peak it feels like an evil power has picked up your Jeep and is shaking it so violently it blurs your vision and nearly throws the Jeep completely out of control

Comparing a shimmy to Death Wobble would kind of like be comparing a gentle summer rain shower to a full-on Texas tornado ripping the roofs off. It's really something I don't want to experience again. Mine happened when my TJ was still fairly new, maybe two years old, before any parts had worn yet. It turned out to have been caused by one of my front tires throwing a weight. Once the tires were rebalanced it has not happened again. I have felt the onset of DW a couple times since then over the past 20 years but in each case, getting the tires carefully rebalanced cured it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
IF Jerry's suggestions don't work... Save yourself time and money and tear it down. There is plenty of damage (read: contributing factors) that can hide until you pull it apart. the risk of not doing this is that you can end up chasing parts and damaging other components (including ones you already replaced).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the useful comments guys - sounds like more time on my back is needed.

Definitely death wobble .... starts at 55mph, violent shaking, keep getting worse even after I take my foot off the gas and speed is sub 50mph .... stabbing the brake pedal hard to load up the front suspension seems to be the only way to stop it other than slowing down to a stop. Also, seems to be more susceptible on warm days (over the winter, during the very cold Wisconsin days it seemed to go away) ...I'm thinking the grease is the bushes is softer on warm days and allows a little more slack.... of course that could be just a pile of nonsense.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top